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Facts That Don't Add Up

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by D'Snowth, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    With so many publications out there that delve into the creation and production of SST, sometimes, different sources say different things, and as such, you end up with facts that don't add up; the purpose of this thread is to possibly try and make them add up.

    Biggest example with me is Jon Stone's feelings on ATC: Street Gang says that he (and Dulcy Singer) were against ATC, and the overall brightening and cleaning up the urban decay of the street in general, especially since it was mostly in competetion with Barney and such, it's even suggested that had he lived to see it, he would've been happy that ATC would eventually be abandoned and dismantled. The 40 Years book is a different story, it quotes Joey Mazzarino saying that Jon did like ATC, especially Furry Arms. Of course, Joey's also quoted mentioned how Jon would ride a bike throughout the entire set when ATC was built, and how great it was... Street Gang says it was because of his failing health, and the bikes made it easier for him to get around.
  2. SSLFan Well-Known Member

    Well 'Snowth, not sure if this correct, but wasn't it that Jon disliked AtC overall, but he was quite fond of the Furry Arms and that's it? That would seem to make some since.

    Still, I wonder if AtC had been around today, would it still look the same as it did nearly 20 years ago? Taken the fact that the show has changed quite dramatically itself since that period.
  3. heralde Well-Known Member

    People are complicated; they have mutiple motivations and feelings. Just because they don't like aspects of something doesn't mean that's how they act 24/7. Plus people can change their minds if they start to see negatives in a situation over time.
  4. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I doubt, with the budget cuts and such, that ATC would be still around today. Even then, we'd see a LOT less Muppets and people down by there. I wonder if cost was one of the reasons it was abandoned.
  5. D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Apparently, according to just about everyboydy, including Caroll Spinney in his book, research was showing that ATC confused kids, because it was too many new settings with too many new characters to introduce to kids, and they didn't really properly develop the characters or their situations and whatnot, so they dropped it.

    Which kind of brings to mind another interesting tidbit of info: Zoe. According to the old SSU book, Zoe was mainly created as a counterpart to Elmo, and the reason she was orange was so the characters could visually compliment each other (ala Zoe's orange fur with Elmo's orange nose, and Elmo's red fur with Zoe's red mouth), but again, Street Gang says something different... apparently, Zoe was all just a big marketing ploy to have a female Muppet character sell well to little girls, and the big reason she was orange was so that she'd stand out on the shelves among the endless line of purple (Barney). Some even suggested she'd sell better had she been a pink Muppet instead of orange.
  6. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was also some monetary motivation for getting rid of AtC... even if it continued longer, they would've had to have gotten rid of most of the actors and puppeteers that were exclusive to AtC characters.
  7. heralde Well-Known Member

    With these kinds of things, everyone always wants to be the one to take all the credit. And they may all be correct; these all might have been their intentions for the character at one time or another.
  8. Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    EDIT: Nevermind
  9. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Seems like for some things, Sesame Workshop tries not to give details that are a bit "dark". For example, the 40th anniversary book and a number of obituaries merely say that Nothern Calloway left the show due to health reasons, but Street Gang says he was let go to to many problems (Street Gang also says that Nothern Calloway was upset that the shows producers didn't have Maria marry Luis, but the 40th anniversary book says that the producers originally wanted Maria to marry David, but Northern turned down the idea due to his health issues).

    Also, the recent Tough Pigs interview with Michael Earl says that Earl was let go from Sesame Street for a number of reasons, including budget cuts, his performance not improving, and pressure from Jon Stone for Henson to let him go due to him not taking direction well (and in the recent Muppet Mindset interview, he also said that he felt it was time to move on). But in the 40th anniversary book, the section on Martin Robinson talks about Michael Earl when detailing the history of Snuffy, and it says there that he "left".
  10. D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    You have to admit, that was pretty gutsy of them to actually keep Northern Calloway on the show, despite all of his medical and mental problems, but they knew David was a popular and well-loved character with the kids since he WAS the street cool cat, so they kept him so long as he was under supervision. They even said in his final years, his worsening conditions were more evident: missing work, rapidly gaining weight, and apparently he actually went to Allison Bartlett O'Reilly's campus to propose to her.

    And the subject of Michael Earl Davis is similar to what exactly happened with other performers, like John Lovelady and Brian Meehl: the most common idea behind John's departure was that Jim felt he was more useful as a coordinator/talent scout rather than a performer, and wasn't happy with that. The most common idea behind Brian's departure was the downtime on the set put a strain on his family life, but some have said it's because he wanted to concentrate on a different career that involved writing and acting. Caroll Spinney has said some performers have left simply because they didn't get the results they were wanting (as in they figured working with the Muppets would make them famous, but they weren't).
  11. heralde Well-Known Member

    Well it's all very tragic of course; nobody asks to be mentally ill and sadly medicine is still struggling to keep up.
  12. D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    You knowm, that brings to mind the slight askewed business dealings...

    Employers don't have the right to ask their perspective employees if they have any illness, condition, handicap, etc, BUT, they DO have the right to ask if they have a criminal record.
  13. heralde Well-Known Member

    Well yeah, you can't help it if you're sick. But if you commit a crime, that's pretty much your fault, heh.
  14. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    What has Meehl acted in, besides a few Sesame Street appearances on-screen? Heck, I can remember when I used to wonder what he'd written, since his Internet Movie Database page didn't list any writers credits.

    Though it's ironic that the downtime is one reason he stopped performing, and then pursued an acting career. Wouldn't the downtime issues affect acting just as much as puppeteering? I've seen a quote from Meehl about this, where he mentioned the downtime as a downside to performing, and yet mentioned getting restless; I'd have thought so much downtime would allow for plenty of time to relax.

    Another fact that doesn't quite add up: In Caroll Spinney's autobiography, he said that Jim Henson didn't have any work for him during the break between seasons one and two, requiring him to work in Boston again for a short time. But what about The Great Santa Claus Switch? Henson had to hire many new performers for this. I'd be surprised if Henson was offered a chance to make this special after Spinney committed to working on Bozo's Big Top in Boston. And I also read that the cast went on tour during this break, and Daniel Segren performed Big Bird in those appearances. What the heck???? This does remind me that when I first heard of The Great Santa Claus Switch, it was in a performers list site which for some reason incorrectly listed Caroll Spinney as one of the performers.
  15. D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I think he wrote mostly for children's shows; I see his name as a writer from time to time on The Magic School Bus actually (and Jocelyn Stevenson), but other than that.
  16. Drtooth Well-Known Member


    Yeah... he did a few Cyberchase episodes. Which ones I can't remember, but I remember seeing his name. But the earliest first or second season ones. Never saw his name after that.
  17. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    It's widely sourced that Fran Brill auditioned for the Muppets thinking she could just do voices, before Jim Henson informed her that the performers do the voices, which she did. But during the early years it was common for characters to be performed by non-performers, from having the human cast occasionally provide Anything Muppet voices (most notably Matt Robinson as Roosevelt Franklin, but it could be because Robinson created the character) to having various songwriters provide voices on occasion.

    And Fran Brill's first Muppet production, The Great Santa Claus Switch, was also the first Henson production with involvement from Marilyn Sokol, who Jim quickly allowed to just do voices for the Muppets (if she continued to physically perform the puppets, I wonder if she'd still be a Muppet performer today). And following that special was The Frog Prince and The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, both of which used vocal talents from non-performers. Though GSCS was taped in New York while the other specials were done in Canada, and Jerry Nelson said in a Tough pigs interview that those required a certain number of canadian performers. Concerning TFP, Carl Banas was the only canadian voice actor in that special I know of, while Jerry Juhl provided the voice of Taminella (since he'd done the voice before and had stopped performing by then) and Jerry Nelson, who was a major Muppet performer by then, voiced but did not puppeteer Robin.
  18. Yorick Active Member

    I clicked on this thread and read (so far) only the most recent post from minor muppetz, and I must say that was very interesting! :wisdom:
  19. D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Well, from what I understand, regarding Marilyn was that she did start out as both a puppeteer and doing the voices as well, though I believe she couldn't quite get the hang of the puppetry aspect, but Jim was impressed with her vocal talent, that he kept her on to exclusively do voices.
  20. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

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